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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on July 5, 2002
I agree with other rave reviews: this is certainly the best technical book I have encountered, and it is a pleasure both to read through and to use as a reference. DuBois's style is clear and succinct, with a fine wit. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is how much DuBois teaches within the confines of a single book -- so much, and so well presented, that the book seems far shorter than its physical thickness would suggest. By way of learning how to use MySQL for practical benefit, the reader also learns standard SQL, fundamental principles of database organization and management, and coding in C, Perl, and PHP, for use both on a local machine and in the Web context, not to mention installation and maintenance on various systems. The key to DuBois's clarity is his presentation of revealing examples at every step of the way, with explanations of each item. The index is also superb and there are richly helpful reference appendices.
(There is one error on p. 250, where DuBois leaves out the first argument to print_error(), the connection handle -- an easy enough mistake and one that I have made far too often since reading the book.)
If there were a prize for excellence in technical books, it should go to Paul DuBois. Bravo!
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on April 29, 2002
The book MySQL is an excellent book. My employer uses MySQL for many of our database needs and, being relatively inexperienced with databases, I had to be brought up to speed quickly and with good, accurate knowledge. This book is that resource. The coverage includes everything from setting up databases and tables to new users and permissions. When I have a question I almost always go directly to the book as opposed to the help pages that came with the database itself. The clear wording and solid explanations along with the excellent examples make it an extremely handy reference to have around at all times. I find myself referring to the book quite often for the finer points in creating SQL statements to do what I need them to do. The examples in the book cover almost every situation I've needed them to. Very rarely do I have the need to go elsewhere or seek additional resources for an answer. If you are going to be developing applications that interact with a MySQL database (whether your language is Java, C, PHP, or PERL) you need this book. It covers all of the functions and common tasks as well as database administration, security, and maintenance and repair. This is a great book and I would highly recommend it to everyone working with MySQL databases.
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on January 25, 2002
Most of the other MySQL books aren't really MySQL centered-they use it as the backend for a language (like PHP or perhaps it's a CGI book that has a chapter or two on dbs, and they use MySQL). This is the *definative* book on the db-the stamp of approval from the create mind behind MySQLAB (...) is on it.
This book has a little bit for everyone. If you wanted to just wet your appetite, you really don't need much more than the tutorial and the PHP chapter. With these two-you can pretty write a web-based app immediately.
Once you want to tune and optimize your application, you better check out the chapters that deal with the details of queries and indexing-the guts of the MySQL SQL. Also, the Perl chapter gives you a more robust language than PHP, and the C chapter gives you something if you want a blazing fast app.
Finally there are the administration chapters-they give you background on the admin tasks.
One suggestion I'd give though, make sure you read the MySQL docs. They're pretty good about details. Also, for PHP-get the PHP docs, the MySQL functions are really handy. If you want to use perl, get the Perl DBI book from O'reilly-I found it indispensable.
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on January 20, 2002
I read somewhere online that this book would be a great help to someone with no previous experience of mySQL - I have many years Unix experience and consider myself reasonably quick at picking up new skills yet I think this book was a waste of my money...
Before you can create a database you need to create a database account which aids data security. This was the area I stalled on because the book simply refers you to ask for assistance from your DBA... After more than half the way through the book it does spend some effort on creating access to your database for others though it does not say how you created access for yourself in the first place.
So - I have the book and no DBA meaning I have still to find another book to walk me through basic mySQL... I felt tricked and this book takes pride for being the first disappointment in my existing library of 50+ books covering Unix, Linux, Windoze, Networking and programming...
Saying all this though, I'm sure the book is a useful tool if you have some mySQL experience, but don't expect it to teach you how to run until you've learned how to walk elsewhere...
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on May 23, 2001
First I got started with the mysql through the online documentation avilable at mysql's website, which is written and being maintained by Paul Dubois.
After that I decided to buy the book, and I was very satisfied with my decision. Below I am listing several evaluative criterias that indeed make the book ( and the author, as well) the best choice available thus far:
1) Great for beginners: To understand how to keep a grade book, you don't need huge brains(I hope so). That's exactly what Paul starts his book with, and makes his way through to some RDBMS terminologies that you won't even notice.
2) From the simplest to more advanced... Such books make the learning for beginniners piece of cake, and for experienced ones a lof of fun. The book's focus is on couple of tables that you build in the first chapter, and keep manipulating throughout the book. Paul never forgets about those tables. Even in the Second section of the book (Using MySQL Programming Interfaces), he teaches you to write applications using C, Perl and PHP to manipulate them. Since you build them all together with Paul, you have more understanding of what you're doing. Of course, by the end of the book it gets advanced, which makes it the right choise for advanced programmers as well.
3) Great references Oh yes. Awesome appendixes. Listings of all the functions, keywords, syntaxes are available (in alphabetical order). Also seperate appendixes for Perl DBI API, C API and PHP API makes it even more useful
4) Easy language. This is deginitely important. Even though the books are in english, not all of them gurantee you comprehension. Sometimes you might find the lingo of the book of too high a level, or even vice versa. None of those are the cases with the MySQL book. Paul uses plain english and switches to RDBMS lingo whenever he thinks it is appropriate.
5) The book is definitely from an expert. You better don't doubt it! Since Paul is the one in charge of the official documentation, who else could tell you more about the subject?
6) Still got the gap? Let him fill it... Another thing that pleased was the fact, unlike other aUtHoRs, it is not hard to get hold of Paul in mysql mailing list. He is kind enough to answer the questions, and/or contribute to the discussions about the subject.
If you are interested with learning MySql, I want you to buy the book, because there're no other books better than this one so far. Also, support for such authors is important.
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on March 4, 2001
I bought this book after reading the reviews. I wanted to learn mySQL for a specific project and since I have about ten years Unix knowledge I thought it was about time I learned an 'add-on' skill like databases. However, I feel that if this book is supposed to be THE book for the absolute beginner, then I've been short changed. 90% of it is written very clearly, but an important section which would prove tremendously useful for beginners like myself fails. The subject of creating a username / password is skimmed in early chapters by refering you to contact your database administrator. For some reason, its not until near end of the book do you get some guidance which I still failed to perform correctly. I bought this book thinking I'd not need to speak to a DBA in order for me to create a simple database (or to use the sample one's that I ftp'd from the publishers server). However... you do need to know someone with some DBA skills, even if the help costs you a coffee...
Thus, excellent book, but I'm only giving it 3stars since its strictly not for the absolute beginner... but nice try though.
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on October 25, 2000
I read a lot of computer books both as part of my day job (unix sysadmin) and on the side (wrote 2 computer books). Normally I'm not moved to write nice things about the competition, but this book is truly impressive.
The organization of the chapters is logical, proceeding from introductory to advanced topics in clearly defined stages. The author thankfully resisted the current trend of giving the chapters cutesy names that communicate nothing. The writing is clear and concise. The indexing is superb. The coverage of the subject matter is unbelievably complete, encompassing not only MySQL and general database theory, but also almost every other aspect of database programming.
In the six months I've been working with it I've never been unable to find the answer to a MySQL question in this book. Indeed, the Appendices are so good that I have found answers in here when the books I was reading on PHP and the Perl DBI turned out to be wrong.
MySQL is a very impressive achievement in all respects.
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on August 13, 2000
Paul DuBois does an excellent job of providing a thorough introduction to MySQL. This is one of two technical books that I have been truly satisfied with, the other being Friedl's _Mastering Regular Expressions_. If you have a limited budget (or limited time to read) and are using MySQL in web development, buy this book.
I was somewhat hesitant to purchase a text on MySQL. Having seven years experience using databases for GIS analysis, I thought that I had a good fundamental understanding of database design. Reading the first section of _MySQL_ made me realise how much I had been missing. The text is liberally interspersed with examples of SQL that were very valuble in pointing out language concepts that I had missed. However, the thing that I found the most appealing about this book was the author's writing style. DuBois balances the extremely technical subject matter with a commentary that makes you want to keep reading. This is something that is sorely missing in most technical writing; I felt like I was reading a good novel.
The features that I found to be most useful in this text were the sections on query optimisation and complex joins. As someone with little formal education in database design, I had always been a little afraid of these concepts. DuBois has helped me conquor my fear and raise these considerations to the forefront of my consciousness when building new applications. I also use the extensive references included in the book as part of my day-to-day work. They are well organised, well written, and are easily accessed by way of a comprehensive index.
I have to admit that I have not read the middle third of the book. To most this would seem a waste, but I have no interest in system administration, and already have a good grasp of how to interface programs with databases. If I ever have time to come back and read the other sections I will. Until then I will rest easy in the assurance that the knowledge I have gained from this book already is worth far more than the price I paid for it.
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on July 30, 2000
I've been using MySQL and PHP for a few months already when I got this book based on all the GLOWING reviews here at Amazon but I was somewhat disappointed upon getting it because I realized there was little information the book that I could not have gleaned from the docs that came with MySQL plus other online resources. If you're the type who prefers 'hand-holding' you will probably like this book however if you're a fairly hardcore techie guy who can get by with just a reference and a simple tutorial, you will find this book redundant. I found the online MySQL manual to be far more useful than this book. The main value of this book being more of a quickstart guide for MySQL and how to interface in to C and Perl. This sort of info is easily found on the web so save your money and some trees.
Now that I'm a more or less experienced user of MySQL (and mostly due to practice and not from reading the book), I find that the rather sparse reference part of the book is quite lacking and only partially useful.
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on January 27, 2000
Just got the book two days ago and have not put it down except to read "Building Database Applications on the Web Using PHP3." (another great buy.)
I am new to SQL and this book is something worth buying. It is written for both techies and non-techies, and if you have the desire to learn MySQL, buy this book. It is the most concise and well written book on the language ever.
Make sure you block out a chunk of time, because once you start reading, you will not put this book down. It fills the gap where other books fail. The tutorial gets you up to speed very quickly (VERY) and you will be building databases within the first 1/2 hour of opening the book. I buy an average of 5 or so books a week and I guarantee that most of them will be covered with dust before I put this book down.
If you have the desire to learn on your own and want to learn MySQL...
BUY THE BOOK! Don't wait! Sell something if you have to, get a second job. Whatever it takes, you can not be without this book!
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